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Press release: protesters occupying Vodafone stores over tax avoidance

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Tel: 07415 063 231 | 07823 934 863

Email ukuncut@gmail.com
@UKUncut

*Protesters occupying Vodafone’s flagship store on Oxford Street – happening now.[1]

* 10 actions taking place across the country including in central London, Cornwall and Manchester.[2]

* Over 45,000 people sign petition calling on Vodafone to pay up

* 80% of public think Government are ‘not doing enough to reduce tax avoidance’ according to YouGov. [3]

* Protest groups Focus E15 Mothers to join in ‘national day of action’ to highlight cuts to social housing.

Vodafone branches up and down the country are being occupied by anti-austerity group UK Uncut, in protest against the mobile giant’s tax avoiding practices. Protesters are throwing a ‘housewarming party’ in Vodafone’s flagship store on Oxford Street – it is being occupied by a group of single mothers and their children angry about tax avoidance and Government cuts leading to a social housing crisis. Mothers with buggies and disabled people are blocking the store’s doors while protesters put up bunting and turn the store into a ‘home’.

Protesters are demanding Vodafone pay the billions in tax owed to the public purse and that the government force corporations to pay up. UK Uncut says the protests highlight the current “social housing crisis”, which they say the Government are making worse by cutting housing benefits, slashing funding for affordable homes and failing to build social housing. Current estimates suggest that 1.6 million families are on the waiting list for social housing and that 50,000 people face eviction due to the bedroom tax.[4]

The protests tap into the growing anger of people unable to access suitable housing for their families. In London the Focus E15 Mothers campaign, who are known for occupying council offices and show homes in East London[5] and activists from Disabled People Against Cuts[6] have joined the protest.

Vodafone was the first company to be targeted in a series of high-profile protests by UK Uncut for avoiding a £6bn tax bill in 2010.[7] It was recently revealed that Vodafone have not paid any corporation tax in the UK since 2011 despite making a post-tax profit of £59.4bn this year.[8] The protests are taking place just six weeks before Vodafone’s AGM and less than a year before the general election in which the government’s record on tackling tax avoidance while slashing public spending will be centre stage.

UK Uncut activist Charley Dainty, 27, said “We’re here to demand that the Government stop tax dodging by the super-rich and that Vodafone pay up. Cameron and his millionaire mates in Cabinet are overseeing cuts to housing benefits, the bedroom tax and rocketing rents which are forcing people into desperate situations. Vodafone’s dodged taxes could pay for safe and secure housing for the people who need it most”

Jasmine Stone, a member of Focus E15 said: “We’ll be at the VodaHome action with UK Uncut because there is not enough social housing being built and there should be enough for everyone”

ENDS

Notes for editors

UK Uncut (www.ukuncut.org) is a grassroots movement taking action to highlight alternatives to the government’s spending cuts.

[1] 341-349 Oxford St, London W1C 2JE

[2] Actions are planned in Bristol, Cornwall, Grimsby, London, Manchester, Newbury, Norwich, Peterborough, Glasgow and St Albans. See http://www.ukuncut.org/actions

[3] http://d25d2506sfb94s.cloudfront.net/cumulus_uploads/document/4wyibrfzi3/YG-Archive-140512-Barlow-Tax.pdf

[4] For information about the social housing waiting list see: http://www.ukuncut.org/blog/guest-blog-from-tuc and http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2008/aug/08/economy.housing

[5] http://www.opendemocracy.net/opensecurity/kate-belgrave/focus-e15-young-mothers-struggle-for-universal-housing

[6] www.dpac.uk.net

[7] UK Uncut first accused Vodafone of avoiding a £6bn tax bill relating to the purchase of German engineering firm Mannesmann in October 2010. At the time, the claim was dismissed by the company and HMRC as an ‘urban myth’. In 2011, however, a parliamentary committee said the deal ‘may have been illegal’ and could have been worth up to £8bn. The deal will now be investigated as part of the judge-led review of corporate tax deals struck by HMRC. See

– http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/news/article-1704527/Taxman-let-Vodafone-off-6bn-bill.html

– http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/8875360/Taxman-accused-of-letting-Vodafone-off-8-billion.html

– http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2011/dec/06/hmrc-tax-deal-vodafone

[8] http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/1355daf4-db7f-11e3-b112-00144feabdc0.html

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/vodafone-courts-new-tax-row-with-transfer-to-luxembourg-haven-9504224.html


Press release: UK Uncut set to tackle Vodafone stores tomorrow over tax avoidance

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Tel 07415 063 231

Email ukuncut@gmail.com


UK Uncut set to tackle Vodafone stores over tax avoidance

9 Vodafone stores across the UK to be targetted. Newly-announced protests include in Glasgow and St Albans.
Anti-austerity groups Focus E15 and Disabled People Against the Cuts to join protest in Central London.

UK Uncut has vowed that protests against Vodafone stores around the country will go ahead tomorrow, Saturday 14th June. Vodafone is accused of not paying any corporation tax since 2011 and of still owing £6bn tax dodge from a dodgy deal in 2001.[1] The protest groups say that this is money that belongs in the public purse.

Local protest groups have planned actions at Vodafone shops in Glasgow, St Alban’s and central London.[2] UK Uncut today vowed that these protests will go ahead, despite the mobile phone company saying the protests were “picking on the wrong target”[3].

Vodafone was UK Uncut’s first target in 2010, and the group say the government has still not done enough to stop them dodging tax. Protesters are demanding Vodafone to pay the billions in tax owed to the public purse. They say they will occupy Vodafone shops to transform them into homes, housing shelters and housewarming parties.[4]

UK Uncut says the protests will highlight the current “social housing crisis”, which they say the government are making worse by cutting housing benefits, slashing funding for affordable homes and failing to build social housing. Current estimates suggest that 1.6 million families are on the waiting list for social housing and that 50,000 people face eviction due to the bedroom tax.[5]

In London, protesters will meet at Cavendish Square, Soho at 10.45am, and during the action will transform a Vodafone into a house warming party with balloons, parachute children’s games and a creche. They will be joined by activists from the Focus E15 campaign, who are known for occupying council offices and show homes in East London,[6] and from Disabled People Against the Cuts.[7]

UK Uncut protester Stef Johnson, 32 said “Tomorrow we’ll show the government that they can’t let big business of the hook on huge amounts of tax avoidance. The money Vodafone owe could pay for thousands of new homes, or could stop the bedroom tax and benefit cap many times over. It’s unacceptable that the government choose to let rich tax dodgers off the hook, while making the poorest pay for a crisis they didn’t cause”

ENDS

Notes for editors

UK Uncut (www.ukuncut.org) is a grassroots movement taking action to highlight alternatives to the government’s spending cuts.

Vodafone was the first company to be targeted by a series of high-profile protests by UK Uncut for avoiding a £6bn tax bill in 2010. UK Uncut first accused Vodafone of avoiding a £6bn tax bill relating to the purchase of German engineering firm Mannesmann in October 2010. At the time, the claim was dismissed by the company and HMRC as an ‘urban myth’. In 2011, however, a parliamentary committee said the deal ‘may have been illegal’ and could have been worth up to £8bn. The deal will now be investigated as part of the judge-led review of corporate tax deals struck by HMRC. See

- http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/news/article-1704527/Taxman-let-Vodafone-off-6bn-bill.html

- http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/8875360/Taxman-accused-of-letting-Vodafone-off-8-billion.ht…

- http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2011/dec/06/hmrc-tax-deal-vodafone

[1] See http://www.ukuncut.org/blog/the-dodgy-house-of-vodafone

[2] Actions are planned in Bristol, Cornwall, Glasgow, Grimsby, London, Manchester, Newbury, Peterborough and St Alban’s. See http://www.ukuncut.org/actions

[3] Financial Times, May 15 2014: “UK Uncut to stage tax avoidance protests”. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/1355daf4-db7f-11e3-b112-00144feabdc0.html#axzz34Uvxdoy9

[4] http://www.ukuncut.org/blog/call-out-vodahome-power-to-us
[5] For information about the social housing waiting list see: http://www.ukuncut.org/blog/guest-blog-from-tuc and http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2008/aug/08/economy.housing

For information about the bedroom tax forcing people to face eviction see: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/exclusive-50000-people-are-now-facing-eviction-after-b…

[6] https://www.facebook.com/pages/Focus-E15-Mothers/602860129757343
[7] www.dpac.uk.net


Press release: Vodafone stores around the country to be targeted by nationwide UK Uncut protests.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Tel 07415 063 231
 Email ukuncut@gmail.com

Vodafone stores around the country to be targeted by nationwide UK Uncut protests.

  • Protest groups Focus E15 Mothers to join in ‘national day of action’ to highlight cuts to social housing.
  • 7 actions planned across the country including in Cornwall, Manchester and central London.

Vodafone branches up and down the country are set to be targeted this Saturday, 14th June, by anti-austerity group UK Uncut, in protest against the mobile giant’s tax avoiding practices. So far 7 protests are planned to take place around the UK, in locations including in Manchester, Grimsby, Cornwall, Peterborough and central London.[1]

Vodafone was UK Uncut’s first target in 2010, and the group say the government has still not done enough to stop them dodging tax. Protesters are demanding Vodafone to pay the billions in tax owed to the public purse. They say they will occupy Vodafone shops to transform them into homes, housing shelters and housewarming parties.[2]

This week several protests committed their support for the protests. In London the Focus E15 Mothers campaign, who are known for occupying council offices and show homes in East London, will join the protest. The protest groups say their actions will be disruptive, but that they are a necessary and proportional response to the government’s lack of action to provide affordable, decent housing for all.

 Occupations will be staged to protest against to the government’s failure provide secure and safe homes. More than 215,000 households face eviction and 5.9 million homes in England fail to meet the Government’s Decent Home Standards. [3,4]

 In London, protesters will meet at Cavendish Square, Soho at 10.45am, and during the action will transform a Vodafone into a house warming party with balloons, parachute children’s games and a creche.

UK Uncut state that a “national day of action” focused on Vodafone’s tax dodging activities is needed because the company still owes tax on a deal from 2011, which was reported to cost the UK treasury £6bn. The campaign group also claims that the mobile phone provider “hasn’t paid a penny of corporation tax since 2011”,[5] and that forcing tax avoiders to pay their tax could avert a looming housing crisis in the UK.

Vodafone was the first company to be targeted by a series of high-profile protests by UK Uncut for avoiding a £6bn tax bill in 2010.[6] The action is due to take place just six weeks before Vodafone’s AGM and less than a year before the general election in which the government’s record on tackling tax avoidance while slashing public spending will be centre stage.

UK Uncut activist Kay Stevens, 28, said “The government have spoken tough but acted way too weak on tax dodging by millionaires and rich companies. Meanwhile our millionaire government is overseeing cuts to housing benefits, the bedroom tax and rocketing rents which are forcing people into desperate situations. Vodafone’s dodged taxes could pay for safe and secure housing for the people who need it most”

Jasmine Stone, a member of Focus E15 said: “We’ll be at the VodaHome action with UK Uncut because there is not enough social housing being built and there should be enough for everyone”

 ENDS

 Notes for editors

 UK Uncut (www.ukuncut.org) is a grassroots movement taking action to highlight alternatives to the government’s spending cuts.

[1] Actions are planned in Bristol, Cornwall, Grimsby, London, Manchester, Newbury and Peterborough. See http://www.ukuncut.org/actions

[2] http://www.ukuncut.org/blog/call-out-vodahome-power-to-us
 [3] http://www.independent.co.uk/money/mortgages/more-than-215000-households-face-eviction-9429656.html

[4] English Housing Survey Headline Report, 2010-11.

[5] http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/1355daf4-db7f-11e3-b112-00144feabdc0.html

[6] UK Uncut first accused Vodafone of avoiding a £6bn tax bill relating to the purchase of German engineering firm Mannesmann in October 2010. At the time, the claim was dismissed by the company and HMRC as an ‘urban myth’. In 2011, however, a parliamentary committee said the deal ‘may have been illegal’ and could have been worth up to £8bn. The deal will now be investigated as part of the judge-led review of corporate tax deals struck by HMRC. See

- http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/news/article-1704527/Taxman-let-Vodafone-off-6bn-bill.html

- http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/8875360/Taxman-accused-of-letting-Vodafone-off-8-billion.ht…

- http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2011/dec/06/hmrc-tax-deal-vodafone


Guest blog: Michelle from Cornwall Uncut – why I’m taking action

Turn Vodafone into a #VodaHome! 

I have always been brought up to believe in good and honesty. I have both my parents to thank for that.

Here we are in 2014 and all I see is misery around us. Day after day all we hear is how bad things are.
Just today this struck me as very sad It appears that “3.5 million children will be in poverty by 2020″.
How can this be right when it’s 2014 and we’re supposed to be one of the richest Countries in the world?

We also have a housing crisis! What’s that all about? We have so, so many people in need of housing. We also have the poorest being struck down with Bedroom Tax! Let’s face it, if the Bedroom Tax was really all about ‘freeing up’ homes, then yes, the policy would have included pensioners. Not that I believe pensioners should be forced to give up their homes either mind. That should be forced upon NO one!!

Simple answer is, there are not enough new properties being built. I don’t just mean ‘affordable’ properties. We need many more new builds in social housing. Let’s face it a lot of these new ‘affordable homes’ are not even reachable by young newly weds or couples BOTH in employment! What is it that is going so wrong?

I may be disabled, I may be in receipt of Social Security but I still pay my dues in to the national pot. Nevermind all those that continually waffle on “oh you’re on benefits, you don’t pay tax” etc. Hmm, I’ve even seen a tweet from MP Brandon Lewis trying to pull that number!

WE DO!!!!!!! Yes, believe it or not, the poorest, sick, disabled and the unemployed all pay tax! So, if we all pay tax, then what’s the problem I hear you ask?
How about this for starters…

This Saturday I will be out on the streets in association with UKUncut’s Operation #VodaHome Why? – Let me tell you…

Many companies, such as Vodafone DO NOT pay their share of tax in to the national pot!

How can they get away with it is way beyond me.
Let me put it simply…I am a Vodafone customer and I have a Vodafone contract mobile. Once a month I receive a bill. Now then, within that bill is a certain amount of V.A.T. (Value Added Tax) Yes tax.
Now, if, I decided I didn’t want to pay that tax, what do you think would happen? Yes, I would be cutt off. Contract terminated. The thing is, I have no Choice. There is nothing I can do in order not to pay that tax. As I said, I was brought up to be honest and good, I wouldn’t want not to pay my share of tax.
So, just how come Vodafone can not pay any UK corporation tax for a third year in a row despite making a post-tax profit of £59.4bn? Yes, that was fifty nine point four billion!
Can you just imagine for one minute how much that could help the national treasury pot? Housing, NHS, social security, child poverty, foodbanks, all of these things could be better addressed if the tax was paid in to the pot!!
Yes, I am sure you can… It doesn’t take much to see that there is something drastically wrong here.

So, that is why I am going to be out on the streets Saturday June 14th.
Vodahome is the place to be.
Find an event near you or maybe even set up your own!!

This blog was first posted on Michelle’s own page: http://michellekent1.wordpress.com/2014/06/09/vodafone-to-vodahome/


Guest blog: Fighting the cuts & corporate power

This is a guest blog post by Danny Chivers, who is part of both the Reclaim Shakespeare Company and UK Uncut

Fighting the cuts and corporate power: a double-whammy weekend of action coming up!

There are two exciting direct action callouts for the weekend of June 14th/15th: a day of UK Uncut actions targeting Vodafone’s tax-dodging on Saturday 14th, and a “Viking flash-horde” at the British Museum in protest at BP sponsorship on Sunday 15th, organised by theatrical activists the Reclaim Shakespeare Company.

These may seem like quite separate issues, but in fact they are deeply interlinked, and I’d recommend that anyone thinking of attending one should include the other as well and make a proper action-packed weekend of it.

Why? Well, beyond the initial fact that both offer the chance to do something inspiring and effective to shake off the post-EU-election blues, these two actions are tackling different parts of the same problem. They are linked by the Government’s brutal cuts agenda, and also by the growing problem of unaccountable corporations.

The #VodaHome action will highlight the cuts to social housing that are forcing more people into poverty, temporary accommodation and homelessness, and link this to the billions of pounds that the Government allows the likes of Vodafone to avoid in tax. The British Museum action, meanwhile, is part of a wider movement against fossil fuel sponsorship of the arts. Funding arts and culture gives the likes of BP and Shell a cheap veneer of responsibility that helps to distract from their real, destructive activities; not just their drilling and spilling, but their ferocious lobbying to block clean energy projects all over the world, keeping us trapped on a fossil-fuelled path to climate meltdown.

While fossil fuel companies have been giving money to some of our cultural institutions for many years, until now their contribution has been relatively small. For example, BP provides less than 1% of the annual income of the Tate, the Royal Opera House and the British Museum (although you wouldn’t know it from the huge amount of branding the company gets in return). Government cuts to public funding of galleries, theatres and museums mean that there is now a major risk that these institutions could drastically increase their reliance on corporate funding, locking them in as PR partners to dirty industries. Increases in fossil fuel sponsorship would also make it much harder to produce art that exposes these companies’ true nature; many artists are already afraid to speak out against their sponsors for fear of losing their livelihoods.

It doesn’t have to be like this. The weekend of June 14th and 15th gives us all a brilliant opportunity to challenge two different corporations who are benefiting from (and behind the scenes no doubt cheering on) the Government’s strategy of letting the rich off their taxes while hammering everyone else. These two days of action will highlight some of the terrible consequences of the cuts (a lack of affordable housing with all the misery and tragedy that entails, cheap unearned PR for climate-trashing industries and the corporate capture of the arts) while also putting forward the solutions (tax justice leading to decent public funding for social housing, the arts and everything else we’d expect in a decent society). Plus we’ll get to turn Vodafone stores into temporary housing and give BP a flashmob Viking funeral. How perfect a weekend is that?

To join the #Vodahome action, check UK Uncut’s actions page to find an action near you, or see the step-by-step guide on how you can organise one yourself. To join the BP Vikings flash-horde, sign up to the Facebook event or send an email to info@bp-or-not-bp.org and you’ll receive instructions!


Guest blog from Paula, disability rights campaigner

This is a guest blog from Paula, a disability rights campaigner and DPAC activist. Join Paula on June 14th to resist the Bedroom Tax and other government attacks on the right to a home.

On 1st April 2013, 670,000 people in the UK were informed that their housing benefit was going to be cut by £14 a week if you had a spare bedroom in your property or by £22 a week if you had more than one spare bedroom. The Government call this policy the “Spare room subsidy”, we as campaigners call it the Bedroom Tax.

450,000 people affected by the Bedroom Tax are disabled people, 60-70 per cent of households in the UK have a disabled person living in it. A year on from the introduction from the bedroom tax, and we are seeing that 9 out of 10 disabled people have cut back on eating to pay the bedroom tax, 4 out of 10 disabled people have cut back on mobility care support, and 37 per cent of people have had to cut back on medicines needed to treat their various illnesses and impairments to pay the bedroom tax to keep a roof over their head.

We are seeing councils up and down the country take into account a disabled person’s Disability Living Allowance (DLA) when a claim for discretionary housing payment is applied (DHP) despite this benefit not being means tested. This benefit is to meet a disabled person’s care and mobility needs. 3 out of 10 disabled people living in housing adapted to meet their needs have been denied DHPS’ compared to non disabled people, a blatant case of discrimination by the councils themselves.

Disabled people need a spare room because of the equipment they may have to store for their condition, i.e., a wheelchair, or specialist machinery like dialysis equipment for example, or if a partner, may need a spare bedroom because the person with an impairment is sleeping in a hospital bed, unable to sleep with their partner, and their partner needing that spare bed in order for them to sleep so they can continue to care for their loved one at home.

This policy is causing great harm to many, we have seen people like Stephanie Botteril take her own life as she worried how to pay the £20 a week to keep her home, money she simply did not have, people with mental health impairments sectioned when the bailiffs have made an attempt to enter their property as the claimant has been served with an eviction notice, and it is important to stress, that in the last 12 months over 15 per cent of claimants affected by the bedroom tax are facing eviction causing a great deal of distress and uncertainty for many.

It’s important that we support the campaign to get the bedroom tax abolished, cap rents and build more social housing, housing is a human right, and should be available to all. Help us campaign against this draconian unjust policy, help stop the bedroom tax!

Join the #VodaHome actions on June 14th – tell Vodafone to pay their tax and the government to stop their cuts to housing. Find your local action here, or organise your own.


Guest blog from Val from Grimsby UK Uncut

This is a guest blog from Val from Grimsby UK Uncut, telling us why she’s taking action on June 14th, and why you should to.

I am angry that while all the political parties are trying to convince us that austerity measures are necessary; that cuts to our public services and our benefits system have to be made, that we have to tax the bedrooms of the country’s poorest and most vulnerable, the government is giving away billions to rich companies and their shareholders by agreeing that they don’t have to pay their taxes. That’s our money.

This means real people are plunged into poverty. Any one of us can lose our jobs and be at the mercy of the benefits system. It’s outrageous that people in the sixth or seventh richest economy in the world are homeless, starving and lives are being put at risk and all to funnel more money into the bulging pockets of the world’s richest.

Estimates are that the avoided, evaded and uncollected taxes amount to enough to wipe out the deficit. No cuts necessary.

This is not just about telling Vodafone and those other companies that are leeching this country’s wealth; it’s also about telling the government that they’ve got their priorities wrong.

Taking direct action is the only way to get attention and get our voices heard. But just because something is serious that doesn’t mean that it can’t be fun. Roy is being a bit mysterious about what he’s planning but from the hints he’s dropped I’m sure we’ll be making our point with humour. We’re meeting at 3pm at Freshney Place in Grimsby town centre. Find Grimsby UK Uncut on Facebook or the website for updates.

Join the #VodaHome action on June 14th – tell Vodafone to pay their tax and tell the government to use that money to stop cuts to housing. Find your local action here, or organise one yourself (here’s a step-by-step guide).


Guest blog from Frances O’Grady, General Secretary of the TUC

This is a guest blog from France O’Grady, General Secretary of the Trade Union Congress (TUC). Join the #VodaHome day of action on June 14th.

Access to decent housing at an affordable price should be a basic right.
Like food and drink, shelter is a necessity, yet for many of us this need
is only partly met.


Far too many live in overcrowded or unsuitable accommodation. The waiting
list for social housing is so long that it never seems to move. House
prices have risen 8 per cent in the past year alone, which is great for
sellers and construction companies, but leaves buyers scrambling to try
and get on the property ladder . And despite talk of housing bubbles, the
number of home owners has fallen by 400,000 from its pre-recession peak.

Lack of sufficient good quality housing at a price that can be afforded
hits people’s life chances at every stage. Damp housing can put your
health at risk and an overcrowded home is very likely to undermine your
education. Lack of affordable alternatives also leaves people locked into
areas where there are few job opportunities, entrenching low wages and
unemployment.

Good housing is not just about roofs over heads, it underpins sustainable economic growth.

Once political parties competed on who could build the most homes, but in recent decades construction dropped off the political agenda. House price inflation may be bad for the economy, but makes owners feel better off.
Meanwhile everyone else suffered rapidly rising rents and unaffordable
house prices, overcrowding and even homelessness.

Private landlords have rushed to fill the gap, making buy-to-let a big business, but rents are at a record high and tenancy agreements offer little security. Landlords need to be better regulated.

The waiting list for social housing stands at 1.6 million, yet only 23,000
social homes were built last year.

The Coalition is entirely focused on reviving the property market. Help to Buy is better called Help to Sell. It has ignored the need for social housing.

This is why the TUC wants to see a crash programme to build one million affordable and council houses. That is why we need to end tax dodging by the super-rich and big business – not just to fund proper services and decent welfare but to build the homes that Britain needs.

Thanks Francis! Let’s take action to stop the tax dodging – starting with Vodafone. Join your nearest #VodaHome action on June 14th, or organise your own with this step-by-step guide.

See you on the streets!


Guest blog from GMB, trade union

This is a guest blog from Martin Smith, National Organiser, and Eamon O’Hearn Large, National Officer, from the trade union GMB encouraging people to get along to the Vodafone demo near them on the 14th.

GMB is focussed on
making work pay, including paying the rent.



Photo credit: Hugo Michiels, Demotix

93% of new Housing Benefit claimants are from people in work as rents soar by 18% a year. Work simply does not pay the rent. Those with mortgages taken out during the height of the bubble live in fear of interest rate rises. Thousands live in fear of eviction through the bedroom tax.

Grasping landlords have exploited rising house prices and put rents up year on year knowing the Housing Benefit fund will pay. The Right to Buy scheme of the 1980s that provided for the cheap sell-off of council houses, the collapse in house building over the last 30 years, the promotion of the buy to let industry and the ending of any controls on rents, have all set the scene for this great rent robbery by landlords. Only landlords can cut rents and only rent controls will make them.

But welfare dependency is not limited to greedy landlords. GMB research confirms the Jospeh Rowntree Foundations calculation that most employers paying less than £10 per hour for a 40 hour week rely on the fact their workers will claim in work benefits to keep body and soul together. A huge subsidy from taxpayers to the profits of poverty wage employers and further proof that £7.65 an hour is a state subsidised wage not a “living wage”.

To add insult to injury many corporations addicted to taxpayer subsidies of their low pay are also those that engage the most in complex tax avoidance schemes. A new business model is emerging – combining tax dodging and wage dodging while holding taxpayers to ransom with threats to cut jobs and relocate abroad. Picking our pockets at work and at home.

Starbucks, Next, Amazon, Vodafone – the list is almost endless and part of building unions in these businesses is exposing their tax affairs to demand they give a greater share of their hidden off-shore profits to their workforce – and back to taxpayers to fund house building and public services.


The reality for many workers In the UK right now is that unemployment is being replaced by state-supported under-employment at a faster rate than ever, trapping millions in a revolving door between unemployment benefits and in work benefits. Jobs that were 40 hours a week and permanent are being split into zero hours or 4 hours a week casual contracts and workers sent to the dole office to claim in work benefits. For the 2.6 million workers who earn less than £6.80 an hour, the minimum wage has become a maximum wage – a ceiling on their aspirations rather than a floor on their wages. For the first time ever, most people classed as living in poverty come from working families.

Food banks and in-work benefits can keep body and soul together when pay packets aren’t enough to make ends meet. But only employers can make work pay and only trade unions can ensure they do.

GMB
encourages all members to get active and join their local Vodafone actions on
the 14
th.

Join the national day of action against Vodafone on June 14th. Find your nearest action here, or organise your own.

See you on the streets.